Jim Tressel suspended after Ohio State football memorabilia sales

Jim Tressel has been suspended from Ohio State after the university learned that Tressel, the football team's head coach, had withheld information about players violating NCAA rules and continuing to let them play. Jim Tressel issued an apology.

Terry Gilliam/AP
Jim Tressel suspended: Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel (l.) and university president E. Gordon Gee (2nd l.) listen as athletic director Gene Smith speaks during a news conference Tuesday, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State suspended Tressel for two games and fined him $250,000 on Tuesday for violating NCAA rules by failing to notify the school about information he received involving two players and questionable activities involving the sale of memorabilia.

Ohio State University's football coach Jim Tressel had been doing right by the school, winning the 2002 national championship and building a 106-22 record over the past 10 seasons. But, according to a recent suspension, the winning coach didn't seem to do right by university officials last year.

It started in April 2010, when the NCAA was made aware of possible violations by some Ohio State players.

Several players sold Ohio State football memorabilia to tattoo parlor owner, Edward Rife. In exchange for memorabilia such as jerseys and championship rings the players received cash and discounts on tattoos.

Following a federal investigation of Rife, Tressel's lawyer emailed him about the possible violations, naming two specific players who had sold the Buckeyes memorabilia.

Tressel failed to tell university officials about the possible NCAA violation, and then allowed the two players to play the rest of the 2010 season.

On Dec. 7, the university learned of the investigation after the local US Attorney's office contacted them. The university informed the NCAA, and on Dec. 23, five players, including the team's star quarterback, were suspended for five games.

In January, Tressel confirmed that he had known about the memorabilia sales all along.

Having failed to report the sales to the school in a timely manner, Tressel has been suspended for the first two games of the season against Akron and Toledo and fined an additional $250,000, but Ohio State athletic director, Gene Smith, has confirmed that Tressel will be returning as coach.

In a statement, Tressel said, “I am sorry and disappointed this happened. At the time the situation occurred, I thought I was doing the right thing. I understand my responsibility to represent Ohio State and the game of football. I apologize to any and all of the people I have let down.”

Tressel said the right thing to do would have been to talk to the university's legal counsel as soon as he received the email in April, adding that he planned to "grow from this and I’m sincerely saddened by the fact that I let some people down and didn’t do things as well as I could possibly do."

Each of the players involved have been asked to make donations to charity comparable to their profits from the memorabilia sales and the value of their tattoos.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misspelled Jim Tressel's name.

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